Friday, September 13, 2013

When Fully Trained, Every Disciple Will Be Like His Teacher

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

By Melanie Rigney
I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:12-14)
I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. (Psalms 16:7)
(Jesus told the disciples:) “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:39-40)

Lord, give me the strength and the tools to share Your message of salvation, even when it is unpopular to do so.

He wasn’t an intellectual, or a noteworthy theologian, for that matter. But some say Saint John Chrysostom, whose feast day we observe today, was one of the greatest orators our Church has ever known. He didn’t use metaphors, didn’t try to share the Good News in ways that might be palatable to the establishment or to those in the pew. He just told it as he saw it. And his statements from more than sixteen centuries ago continue to rattle our notions of faith in action today. This Doctor of the Church’s treatises, homilies, letters and commentaries include such gems as: “What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger?” Ousted as bishop of Constantinople, he died on the way to his final banishment.

Here’s how Pope Benedict XVI explained the saint’s philosophy in a 2007 homily:

… It was a question of giving the city a soul and a Christian face. In other words, Chrysostom realized that it is not enough to give alms, to help the poor sporadically, but it is necessary to create a new structure, a new model of society; a model based on the outlook of the New Testament. It was this new society that was revealed in the newborn Church. … Chrysostom reaffirmed the discovery that God loves each one of us with an intimate love and therefore desires salvation for us all.

That message that God loves us all remains bold and challenging today. May we learn from Chrysostom’s fearless example.


Looking for some new evangelization tools? Come to the Ultreya tomorrow evening at St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle. In addition to the usual pray and song, we’ll have a book exchange opportunity—bring a couple or three books and take a few home! Visit for more details.

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